Wrestling continues to have a toehold at Cheverus High.

Barely.

Only two sophomores are competing for the Stags this season, but school officials intend to keep the program alive.

“We’re trying to save it and keep it going,” said Patsy Fowler, assistant director of athletics at Cheverus.

“We’re trying to get it back on its feet.”

Wrestling has been a tough sell at Cheverus.

“I don’t have a tradition to build upon. I have to create one,” Cheverus Coach Ben McCrillis said. “We don’t have trophies in the hallway. There’s nothing to reference the foundation to where (wrestling) started.”

McCrillis, a former Class A state wrestling champion who once competed for a spot on the United States Olympic wrestling team, hopes the success one of his young wrestlers is having this season will help establish a solid foundation at Cheverus.

Last Saturday, Iain Whitis, who finished third in the 103-pound division at last season’s Class A state meet, won all four of his matches while capturing the 112-pound division at the 13-team Southern Maine Classic at South Berwick.

“He’s got tremendous skill, a tremendous heart and he’s very stubborn,” McCrillis said. “He reminds me of myself. He wrestles any time, anywhere.”

Whitis, who lives in Gorham, began wrestling when he was in the third grade.

“I’ve just liked it ever since I started,” he said.

Gorham doesn’t have a wrestling program so Whitis began competing in the youth program in Westbrook.

Whitis still has to travel to train.

Last season, when there were a few more wrestlers on the team, the Stags rolled out the mats and practiced in a cafeteria.

This winter, McCrillis, in his second full season as wrestling coach, has taken Whitis and Ian Lawson, who competes in the 140-pound weight class, to schools throughout southern Maine in search of practice matches.

“We spend most of the time practicing with the Westbrook team,” McCrillis said. “We’ve also gone to Portland, Deering, Noble and Biddeford. Anywhere we can get practice time, we do it.”

 

THE KENNEBEC Valley Athletic Conference will conduct its championship meets Saturday at Mt. Ararat High in Topsham.

Teams from Brewer, Cony, Erskine Academy, Mt. Ararat, Mt. Blue, Nokomis, Oxford Hills and Skowhegan will compete for the league’s Class A championship.

Teams from Belfast, Camden Hills, Gardiner, Lincoln Academy, Maine Central Institute, Medomak Valley, Mt. View, Oak Hill and Winslow will compete for the Class B title.

 

THE MID-STATE League will be holding its championship meet Saturday at Fryeburg Academy.

In addition to the host Raiders, teams from Dirigo, Lisbon, Madison, Monmouth Academy, Mountain Valley, Traip Academy, Wells and York are entered.

 

NOBLE AND Massabesic, two Western Class A powers, will tune up for the regional meet Feb. 5 at North Berwick by competing Saturday at the Capital City Classic in Concord, N.H.

Top-ranked teams from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island also will compete.

 

VICTORIOUS MARSHWOOD looked impressive while hosting the Southern Maine Classic on Saturday at South Berwick.

The Hawks had five wrestlers win individual titles, and nine reached the championship round.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]